Congress girds itself for Kisan Rally, fears states ‘mischief’

The Congress, preparing for its Kisan Samman Rally to be held here on Sunday to highlight its role in making the Narendra Modi-led central government backtrack on land acquisition legislation, expressed fears over possibilities that state governments may play “mischief”.

Expressing the concerns, senior party leader A.K. Antony was referring to the NDA government’s decision to not push the legislation in parliament, but allow respective state governments to tackle the issue in their own ways.

“The Congress said that we will not allow the ordinance to be passed. It is a great victory for Indian National Congress, but there is a catch. The fight against land bill is not over. Now they have said that they are leaving it to the state governments. The state governments may play mischief,” he said.

The Kisan Samman Rally is being positioned as an event to not just highlight the Congress’ role in stalling the passage of the legislation in parliament, but also to position itself as a supporter of the farmers’ cause, especially keeping in mind the NDA’s move to implement ‘One Rank One Pension’ – something the that Army veterans have been demanding for decades. The rally is supposed to consolidate its farmer-friendly image ahead of the Bihar polls.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi are going address the farmers from Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh who are being mobilised to attend in large numbers.

Antony accused the Modi government of just wanting to acquire “lakhs and lakhs of acres of fertilised agricultural land at throwaway prices from the poor and middle level farmers” and wanted to hand it to “multi-nationals for profits at cheaper prices”.

For its rally, the party has launched a media blitzkrieg with radio spots and posters to create a buzz.

Party leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said the rally was for “celebrating the victory of 80 crore farmers” who have managed to beat the “scary ordinance”.

Farmers are committing suicides in states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra due to failed crops but there was no help forthcoming from the central government.

Taking potshots at the Modi government, Surjewala said the “country will not progress on hawabazi and chaalbaazi (hot air and cheating), but by honouring farmers and the hardworking poor”.